So, you decided to be a Freelance Writer, but you don’t know where to get…
How to Use Storyboarding as a Technique to Plan, Outline and Write Content
What is Content Marketing?
I have covered differences between copywriting and content marketing in a previous Blog post, which you are welcome to read for yourself.
To recap however, according to Copyblogger, ‘Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you’.
Planning your Content
You have created and launched your Blogging business, but now you must create some engaging content for the ideal audience you have in mind. Just ‘flying by the pants’ won’t be efficient nor will it be very effective in establishing a presence as an expert in your niche.
For Google and other Search Engines to take notice of your Blog, you must stand out from your competitors in the Blogosphere. To accomplish this feat, you must properly plan your content with your audience in mind.
Writers know that by outlining their novels or other creative writing projects, they can set out a proper skeleton around which they can build the story they know their readers will like and go out and buy.
The same holds true for content marketing. According to Uberflip, ‘outlines can be incredibly helpful for setting out the skeleton of your content and planning for a successful execution’. As we are however creating content for the web, like videos, webinars, blog posts, infographics and much more, an outline alone will not do the job we require of it to do.
If you however take a strategic approach and properly plan all your content, you will ensure that the message you want to communicate to your audience reaches them and communicates the right information at the right time. We will spend a little time with a novel approach (pardon the pun) to plan and create engaging content.
Create Engaging Content with Storyboarding
Every story, as you know, has a beginning, a middle and an end. The same holds true for content marketing.
You start at a certain point, where you want to create awareness of your brand, then you create interest and lead your audience through a set of steps where they desire your service or product, and you end with a conversion which can be anything you want, like your audience signing up for your newsletter, getting them to call you and engage your services, or convincing them to buy your product .
This is what we call a Marketing Funnel. In short, according to Neil Patel, ‘a funnel is used to track the steps that lead up to that conversion’.
Now we get to the approach I have mentioned earlier, which will help you to create engaging content for your Blog.
As writers we all know that even when you are creating written content, you need to be able to visualize your content. Basically, you need to create a story and walk through the story you’re trying to tell before you start creating the body of the content.
Storyboarding as a method of planning and creating a story, was first developed at the Walt Disney Studios in the 30s. According to Uberlift, ‘the storyboard is a basic system of organizing and planning visual thoughts. A storyboard is usually set up as a series of blocks that will proceed one after the other in the final film or animated story’.
Keeping the end of your Content Strategy in mind, and with a rough outline ready, you can start brainstorming into each bucket on your list and organize our thoughts in advance.
What is the Storyboarding Technique and how can you apply it to your web content?
According to Michael Michalko, ‘Walt Disney used storyboarding to quickly show and share progress on the walls of his studio’. You can use the exact same technique to map out the content which you are planning for your Blog. Let’s quickly talk about that:
1. Identify a Topic.
For example, you decide to write about how Copywriters come up with good headlines.
The topic is therefore: ‘Techniques Copywriters use for Creating Attention Grabbing Headlines’.
Pin the topic card on a pinboard.
2. Decide on the Purpose.
From the topic, you brainstorm the purpose of the topic and write it on a card. Using the example, of the topic above, you identify the purpose for creating attention-grabbing headlines, which is to place emphasis on how your audience will come out ahead if they do business with you.
Pin your purpose beneath the “purpose” card.
Now that you have identified the topic and the purpose of your content, you can identify and list the headers (sections), which are primarily the major categories supportive of the process to identify ‘The techniques Copywriters use for creating attention grabbing headlines’. For example, in this case these may be:
• Identifying your Audience
• Identifying the Important features of your service or products
• Identifying which of these features are the most important to your audience and the reasons they will want to buy it.
Pin these Headers/ Sections under your ‘Headers’ card.
It’s a good idea to include a miscellaneous header to contain all those items that don’t fit within the other categories, like an introduction to your Brand and how you decided to launch your business.
Pin these under the ‘Miscellaneous’ card on you board.
Use your headers and sub headers which you have identified to brainstorm ideas, solutions, and thoughts on cards.
During a storyboard session, consider all ideas relevant, no matter how impractical they appear.
Keep the storyboard flexible and dynamic.
Continue with this process you have generated enough ideas.
In conclusion you can see for yourself that Storyboarding is a great method to use for:
• Setting out visual cues for your written content; and
• Boosting the effectiveness of your content.
I will be developing a short tutorial for this process which will deal with this brainstorming method in a little more detail, so stay tuned and subscribe to the Blog’s newsletter for updates in this regard.
Tools for Storyboarding
You can use an ordinary corkboard and index cards as I have described above, and manually plan and outline your content, or you can use Scrivener.
Scrivener is a very familiar program which writers use to plan, outline and write their novels, non-fiction books or other creative writing projects.
This software can however also be used very successfully in planning, outlining and writing your Blog posts and other internet content such as you Vlog (video blogs) scripts or video tutorial scripts.
Scrivener’s Corkboard is one of the writer’s most familiar planning tools. In Scrivener, every section of your project is attached to a virtual index card. Scrivener’s corkboard lets you step back and work with just the synopses you’ve written on the cards—and when you move them, you’re rearranging your manuscript, screenplay or blog post at the same time.
I use Scrivener in my projects and I can recommend this piece of software with confidence. I have included two videos from the Scrivener website here on the Blog:
Using an Editorial Calendar
It is necessary that every Blogger, Content Marketer and Copywriter take the necessary time to organize, plan and schedule their content. A Blog Editorial Calendar can come in very handy indeed.
I have created a blog editorial calendar in Excel to give you the necessary inspiration in this regard. You are welcome to download this customisable Calendar for free from our Resources tab. This should help you speed up the implementation of your Content Marketing Strategy.
I will be writing a lot more about Content Marketing and Copywriting in the weeks to come. Sign up for the Newsletter on the Blog and stay tuned!
Please let me know what techniques you use to plan, outline and write your internet content.
About the Author
Kim Bock is the Marketing Manager for WebScripto Pty Ltd (a Digital Marketing Agency). She is also an experienced Blogger and Freelance Writer.